Panic Attack?

Eat a snack says experts.

Panic Attack?

Landon Jones, Staff Writer

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Therapists on TikTok have been saying that some snacks can help reduce panic attacks. How is this possible though and should you stock up on some of these snacks?

The snacks that are being prescribed by these therapists may seem weird because it’s just food on the surface. The snacks that are being used are sour, salty, or spicy. These intense tastes are supposed to distract one from the physical symptoms that arise from a panic attack. This is a physiological response to the brain that helps it step out of the anxious thoughts of the current moment.

Anxiety sends the body into a haywire heart rate increases, breathing becomes shallow, and the digestion system begins to slow. Pankonin, one of the therapists on TikTok said, “Anxiety wants to be felt, and it demands you to feel it when it’s happening”. However, when we incorporate the taste of these extreme flavors it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is a system that helps relax the body after periods of high stress. Micheline Maalouf, a certified trauma therapist, said, “When we incorporate the body first, then we can help our body slow down. Then we can go on and incorporate these thought techniques.” Physically any food can start the digestive system back up but foods with intense taste produce more saliva making the taste spread. Experts caution that this isn’t a long-term solution though.

The experts say that this is more of a band-aid solution rather than a full-time medication. Maalouf had said, “It just might reduce the intensity and the duration of it because you’re re-engaging your senses early on and you’re re-engaging the digestive system early on, maybe you won’t feel it as intensely, but it probably won’t stop it in its tracks.” To fully help oneself, people who deal with these attacks need to learn proper techniques to calm themselves. No matter where they learn it from whether it be from a therapist, family member, friend, or even themselves. Is this to say eating these snacks is useless? They can help temporarily until one can do it on their own. So, next time you go out to shop think about stocking up on some snacks.